LOS ANGELES — Numerous Los Angeles Times staffers have been publicly voicing their disapproval on social media of Ross Levinsohn, the newspaper’s CEO and publisher, following a comprehensive and scathing National Public Radio report about questionable behavior toward women, two sexual harassment lawsuits, and calling people in the LGBTQ community “fags.”
ON UNPAID LEAVE
The Times’ parent company, Tronc, announced Friday that Levinsohn was on unpaid leave, CNN reported. On Thursday, Tronc said it had opened an investigation into the allegations, then on Friday, more than 180 newsroom employees requested that he be removed, CNN reported.
Levinsohn hasn’t made any public comments on the NPR report.
The NPR story, which was broadcast and posted online Thursday, is based on a review of court documents, financial filings, and interviews with 26 former colleagues of Levinsohn and his associates. “Taken in concert, they suggest a pattern of questionable behavior and questionable decisions on the job. The portrait that repeatedly emerges is one of a frat-boy executive, catapulting ever higher, even as he creates corporate climates that alienated some of the people who worked for and with him,” NPR said.
One Times journalist who expressed frustration at the Levinsohn allegations is Anthony Pesce.
“As a gay journalist, I’m sad and frustrated that my publisher would refer to members of the LGBTQ community as “fags.” It’s homophobic,” Pesce Tweeted Thursday. “It has had no place in polite discourse for many decades. This is not OK.”
Pesce then made a series of Tweets explaining the words “fag” and “faggot.”
While an executive overseeing the Hollywood Reporter in 2013, Levinsohn told a colleague he wasn’t staying at the publication’s lunch honoring the entertainment industry’s most influential fashion stylists, “Why would I hang out with a bunch of ladies and fags?” NPR reported.
The unnamed executive notified the magazine’s human resources department about the incident, NPR said.
The Times newsroom guild said Tronc and its board should be held accountable for not properly vetting Levinsohn, the Times reported.